During the week of February 21 Cape Town’s train station and city streets will be infected – with art.
The fourth year of the Africa Centre’s Infecting the City (ITC) public arts festival aims to put the spotlight on people, music and performance styles from the many cultures in Cape Town.
“This festival will help reclaim the city as a people’s place,” said festival curator Brett Bailey. “It activates and energizes these spaces for people. It edifies moral values and beauty, creativity and ideas.”
Festival organisers hope this year’s theme, “Treasure”, will say to Capetonians, ‘look at what we’ve got.’
“We don’t have to look at the United States or Europe, we’ve got so much here, so much that’s beautiful so much that’s rich,” said Bailey. “It invites everyone in Cape Town to appreciate and celebrate and claim all the riches that we in Cape Town often overlook, discard or aren’t even aware of.”
ITC has claimed Cape Town Station Forecourt as its cultural hub for main performances. The venue choice is significant, as this year the station is celebrating its 150th anniversary. As a gateway for many to reach the city – with over 150 000 people passing through it everyday – performances for the festival will be accessible and convenient for spectators.
Different acts will fall under four sections: buried, wasted, undervalued or heritage treasure. Groups from Langa will perform Xhosa stick fighting, along with performances of Indian Sari-wrapping, ballet, Greek and Irish dancing and Cape Flat’s popular jazz dances.
Following the theme of accessible art to the masses, Arts Aweh! – a youth development programme of the festival – will transport 120 high school students from across Cape Town to view the varied exhibitions every day.
“We wanted people who don’t normally have much to do with art to step off the train and say, ‘Man what’s with all this?'” Bailey explained. “We want to hook people like that, so people become engaged with the arts.”
As a four-year sponsorship deal with Spier will comes to an end, Bailey is determined to keep the public arts festival alive.
“Will there be another infecting the city? We have no idea. Funds are very hard to come by, but we are out there trying to find sponsors for the festival to continue,” he said.
*For more information, visit: http://www.infectingthecity.com/2011/